Introduction: How to Fix a Zipper (without Replacing)

Picture of How to Fix a Zipper (without Replacing)

This is a easy way to fix a zipper without replacing it. This method is really fast too. It works when the zipper pull doesn't close the zipper together anymore. I don't really like to replace zippers, because they always come out a little bit wavy when I do it myself.

You can save a jacket, a tent, a sleeping bag, and many other items.

Step 1: What You'll Need

Picture of What You'll Need

You will only need a pair of pliers.
But if the zipper pull is really destroyed or is made of plastic you will need a NEW ONE OF THE SAME SIZE. YOU CAN FIND IT IN ANOTHER OLD JACKET. Or you can buy one online for really cheap.

Step 2: Remove Teeth

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Remove the little iron teeth of the top of the zipper, which will be on the same side of the jacket where the zipper puller is.

Step 3: Remove Zipper Pull

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Remove zipper pull. You can probably see that it is all distorted.

Step 4: Adjust the Zipper Pull

Picture of Adjust the Zipper Pull


With the pliers close the two sides of the zipper pull, try to make it look like the original shape again.

If your zipper pull is not too worn out you can try to close it directly on the zipper, without removing it.

(if it is made out of plastic, if it is too bent or it breaks doing this you need to find another one of the same size).

Step 5: Put Back the Zipper Pull

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Put back the zipper pull. It may take a little bit of time...

Step 6: Put Back the Tooth

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Put back the iron tooth with the pliers.

Step 7: Done!

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Faster than changing it!


corneliussmurphy (author)2017-09-26

I have a Coach portfolio case (I think that's what it's called) picture attached and the zipper slider (rere M6) is not working while the metal zipper looks to be in great shape. Any thoughts on . . .

1) where to buy a zipper slider replacement?

2) how I should proceed to fix it?

Thanks so much . . . sure looks like you have an excellent following.

Hi, sorry for the late replay.

I will try before to buy another zipper slider, to follow this instructable and try to fix it this way.

If keep not working, you can purchase one on Ebay, making sure you measure yours, and buy one of the same measure. To replace it, you need to take off the old one and insert the new one like I explained in this instructabble. Many zipper replacement you buy online are openable too, so they are easy to place.

Anyways I'm not sure what the matter with your zipper, is hard to say without seeing it, so it may work, or may not!

thanks, I ended-up getting a new slider head at a local shoe repair who did a great job and $20 seemed really fair.

Kali Jennifer (author)2017-04-07

Thanks for awesome tips ! :)

You are welcome!

juanguerracotui (author)2017-04-25

Interesante solución... sube mas tips. Felicitaicones

ImadM3 (author)2017-02-09

I saw also on other fix it sites, a kit called fixnzip from amazon

yimlas (author)2016-01-19

If the teeth are broken the whole zipper needs to be changed. If the slider (the part that opens or closes the zipper) is hard to move up and down on a metal zipper, use some graphite on the zipper teeth and it will slide easily. Don't know what would work on a plastic zipper .

Lydia976 (author)yimlas2017-01-20

Try wax.

PsychoticHatter (author)yimlas2016-02-03

If a plastic zipper (with teeth or with coils) is having issues moving up and down you can use a silicon spray or something called Super Slick Stuff. It smells like oranges while the silicon just smells bad.

sekitori (author)PsychoticHatter2016-05-27

or candle-grease

PrakashM33 (author)2017-01-07

Thanks Brother!! ;)

marcellahella (author)PrakashM332017-01-07

You are welcome!

elva guy (author)2016-02-28

If I have no pliers what I do

dkoriss (author)elva guy2016-11-11

perhaps you buy a pair they are dirty cheap

thundrepance (author)elva guy2016-06-19

i bought a pair @ DOLLAR TREE :^)

Flyboyron (author)elva guy2016-05-26

Uh, get some? You can't expect to fix many things without basic tools. Pliers are about as basic as it gets. You can find them everywhere for a couple of bucks.

deluges (author)elva guy2016-05-26

You buy pliers or use your teeth and trust your luck...

Pliers are useful !

debbiedebz (author)2016-06-10

I've lost and ripped the bottom starter off my Barbour coat and nike hoody its ripped at bottom of the teeth at the side nr starter to how to fix thanks

WaluyoK (author)2016-05-29


Melinda7 (author)2016-05-27

Brilliant!!! Works like a charm :)

SirCooksalot (author)2016-05-26

I have a zipper issue, maybe someone can help? The starter piece at the bottom fell off, you know the little tab that slides into the zipper pull to get started? Fell right off ? It's on a hoody I like, but I can't zip it! Thanks for any help.

sekitori (author)SirCooksalot2016-05-26

If you lost the part you might be able ti fix the zipper using superglue to buildup a new starter-tab...?

Or glue-on some plastic to form a tab..... ?

LDM1 (author)2016-05-26

You can squeeze the zipper pull right on the garment with a pair of needle nose pliers, just gently squeeze it and try it, if the zippers closes and locks the teeth your good to go but, you can squeeze too hard and if you do just use a small screwdriver and open it up just a skosh, ya just have ta toy with it. Lube it with silicone spray for a smooth operation. Well, Happy DIY'in! Yom Tov!

JIMM19722 (author)2016-05-26

What you did was fine. There is a missing tooth in the picture and the zipper won't work very well this way. Sooo how do you handle that?

crhpittsburgh (author)2016-05-26

Thanks, I will definitely be trying this one. I have a couple zippers that needed replaced and its hard to find a shop close that still does it. Fingers crossed it works for me ?

RiexpoR (author)2016-05-26

So good ,simple and important

TheNotoriousHoppington (author)2015-10-16

I have a zipper problem on my bag. The slider is still attached to one side of the track, but I can't get it back on to both. Would this method work? (It's a rather pricey bag and I'd prefer to not ruin it)

If this method won't work, because it's a captive zipper, you can try bending the slider like the picture shows. However, don't bend it much, because the metal is very brittle and might break. But if you're careful, it could work,and it's worth a try.
Then make sure the zipper sides are lined up, squeeze the slider back over the teeth, and slide it back and forth to rezip it.
Then, take some of the stuff out of that overstuffed bag!

KeltonC (author)2015-12-16

God bless you, it worked! for those without pliers, try using your teeth, it's what I did, but be careful not to hurt yourself!

My favorite jacked it back! YES! GOD BLESS!

Flyboyron (author)KeltonC2016-05-26

Pliers are cheaper than dental work. Metal pieces can easily chip your teeth. Be smart...

marcellahella (author)KeltonC2015-12-16

Thanks for the tip! And for the bless too!

mid_life_crisis (author)2016-05-26

What if it's the kind of zipper that doesn't separate at both ends, like a sleeping bag or a pullover sweater or the zipper on your pants?

spiritwalker6153 (author)2016-05-26

Seems like an easy fix to a common problem. I may have to try this on a couple of items of mine. Thanks for the simple fix.

PotatoNeko (author)2016-05-26

Thanks a lot, worked perfectly on my jacket!!!

MuminM (author)2016-05-07

i fixed my zip
thx :)

Pamela Kearns (author)2016-03-03

You can buy a zipper repair kit in the notions at your local fabric store and even at some walmarts

strangerthanwy (author)2016-01-25

Saved me 80 dollars. l didn't realize it was this easy, thank you!

pearlite (author)2016-01-24

Works great,

Thanks for the instructables.

marcellahella (author)pearlite2016-01-24

You are welcome.

ImadM3 (author)2016-01-23

got it thanks saved a jacket

I found the part on Amazon, zipper kit.

marcellahella (author)ImadM32016-01-23

Happy to know that, and thanks for the link

TiffanyR17 (author)2016-01-04

so i bought a walls suit something like a carhart and used it 3 Times and the zipper broke along with some teeth how can i repair this with out paying another 70 bucks for a suit

marcellahella (author)TiffanyR172016-01-04

If some teeth broke to, you can't use this method…I think you may have to replace the whole zipper, but I'm not sure...

TiffanyR17 (author)marcellahella2016-01-04

Yea i was thinking that is it an expensive fix?

marcellahella (author)TiffanyR172016-01-04

Don't know there, but in Italy I bring a jacket to the tailor to change the zipper and it was about 15 euro (16$) with the replacement zipper included.

marcellahella (author)TiffanyR172016-01-04

Don't know there, but in Italy I bring a jacket to the tailor to change the zipper and it was about 15 euro (16$) with the replacement zipper included.

haas661 (author)2016-01-02

I have a jacket that, if I don't make sure the starting piece is all the way in, will come unzipped. Right now I can't get the zipper pulled down to separate the right and left sides. I've tried aligning the teeth better, but I am not getting anywhere. Any suggestions?

marcellahella (author)haas6612016-01-02

May be try to remove the zipper from the top ( step 2 and 3), than adjust the zipper pull, or replace it, put it back in and see if than it will work…but I'm not sure, just a thought...

iamrusky (author)2015-12-28

OH MAN, I lost the stopper tooth! I heavily whip stitched the area where the tooth was to create a thread stopper. Worked perfect otherwise, thanks!

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